I feel divided in my opinion on health-related New Years resolutions.
On one hand, when I hear about someone’s health New Year’s resolutions, I get excited and encouraged that people are prioritising their health. It makes me happy that at New Years, a time of naturally reflecting on the year gone by and considering what we want for the year ahead, people are realising the importance of a healthy lifestyle and are including health resolutions as a focus.
On the other hand however, when I hear about people’s health New Year’s resolutions, I get a little scared and worried. Scared and worried?! Yes, that’s right. I get scared that people are going to go all ‘all or nothing’ yet again. And, I get worried that people are going to damage their health and their mind in the process. I worry that after a few days/ weeks/ months of some crazy restrictive ‘drink lemon juice and cayenne pepper in boiling water only to melt away your fat like Beyonce did’ diet (or any other crazy restrictive diet...there are millions out there) people will end up putting back on any weight that they lost...plus some more. And, they will end up feeling de-motivated, with a sense of ‘see, I can’t do this.’, and then give up.
So, what to do then? Not have health New Year’s resolutions? No, I don’t think that’s the answer. I think it would be great if everyone could have at least one health New Year’s resolution. However, it needs to be something that is sustainable.
Now that it’s mid-way through January, maybe it’s time to re-assess your health New Years Resolutions.
Here are some tips to help you make health New Year’s resolutions that will stick this year:
Make sure it’s realistic and sustainable
If you haven’t been exercising at all, don’t aim to exercise 6 days a week. Start with maybe 3 days a week, and then build it up slowly. If you jump into things and do too much too soon, you can injure yourself, or burn out and just give up completely because it feels too hectic. With eating, don’t go all extreme and start some deprivation diet, or juice fast, or no-carb diet, or take other extreme dietary measures. Sure, you may lose weight in the short term. But, if it is something that you can’t sustain long-term, then don’t start it. Rather aim to make gradual changes that move you closer towards your health goals. Contact me if you would like to set up a health coaching appointment where I can help you set realistic dietary and health goals.
Make sure it can fit into your lifestyle
If you hate the gym, then don’t make going to the gym part of your plan! There are many other ways you can get fit besides for going to the gym. For example, you can do a dance class, go for walks around your neighbourhood with a friend, go for mountain walks, walk on the beach, do a home exercise DVD with a friend. Yes, of course a new health habit will require some sacrifice and may not feel like it totally fits in in the beginning. But, make sure that it is something that can easily fit into your lifestyle after the initial adjustment phase.
Have accountability...don’t go at it alone
Tell someone about what health changes you want to make. It is so much easier if the people around you at home and work can support the healthy changes that you want to make. If you can, challenge some of them to make the changes with you. Then, you can keep each other accountable and encourage each other along the way. Be careful to only tell people who will be an encouragement and support to you...and don’t mention a word about it to that person in your office who is forever trying to get you to eat doughnuts with her at tea time! Some people will try to de-rail your health resolutions...don’t let them!
Make it a gradual forever change, rather than a sudden ‘for a specific event’ change.
If you goal is related to a specific event such as ‘lose weight for my wedding’, or ‘get running fit for the 2 oceans half marathon’ that is great, but...make sure that the changes that you make will last beyond the specific event.
There you have it folks! Have a Happy and healthy 2015! Eat whole foods, be active, work hard and play hard!